EFA disappointed by von der Leyen’s European Commission

The next President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who will substitute Jean-Claude Juncker from November, has unveiled the proposed candidates for Commissioners and their portfolios. Over the coming weeks, nominees will face hearings in the European Parliament.

The European Free Alliance party welcomes the fact that, for the first time, the European executive will have a female President and a gender-balanced college of commissioners, and has also made the climate emergency a priority.

Nevertheless, there are many concerns that must be addressed and questions that need to be answered for the Commission to be able to tackle the huge challenges that lie ahead. EFA will be pushing for words to translate into concrete action.

“As always, the nominees were put forward by the 27 governments of the EU, which too often only represent the interests of the current union of Member States. This is in contrast to EFA’s broader and inclusive vision of Europe: based on a Union that accepts and includes all peoples in the decision-making process”, EFA President, Lorena López de Lacalle, said.

In this sense, a more democratic and inclusive EU can only be achieved by recognizing the true extent of its own diversity and reinforcing participatory democracy, so that all peoples of Europe can have a say on the decisions that affect them.

Unfortunately, many of the candidates are themselves part of the ‘status quo’, and this new selection hardly represents the boost that the EU needs at this crucial time. It is particularly worrying to see the Hungarian nominee, László Trócsányi, who was instrumental in Viktor Orban’s backsliding on EU values as Justice minister, being given responsibility for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy of the EU.

The appointment of Josep Borrell as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs is also concerning. As a minister within the Spanish government, he has expressed a great aversion to even considering the idea of letting the Catalans democratically decide on their own future, and allegedly ordered the spying on Catalan government delegations abroad.

Greece’s candidate, Margaritis Schinas, has been given the portfolio of ‘Protecting our European Way of Life’, which includes overseeing migration. The linking of migration issues and “protecting” Europe’s identity is very worrying, and falls into the trap of using dangerous far-right rhetoric.

EFA looks forward to seeing how the new European Commission meets the challenges of the 21st century, from climate change to sustainable development, as well as the democratisation of the EU and giving a voice to all peoples, stateless nations and regions.